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Top Teacher Award Nominations 2012

Metro Parent asked southeast Michigan parents to tell us which teachers have made a difference in your child's life. Check out all the 2012 nominees and see what moms and dads had to say!

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From the kindergarten teacher with the heart of gold to that science teacher who infuses kids with a passion for the periodic table – teachers all across southeast Michigan educate and empower kids of all ages. Metro Parent asked you to nominate the best teachers in your area when it comes to your child's education. See what local parents had to say about these K-12 teachers from Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties – and be sure to check out our five Metro Parent Top Teachers Award winners for 2012!

Macomb County

Katie Stenger

Thomas Edison Elementary, Fraser

"Ms. Stenger is my son's kindergarten teacher at Edison Elementary in Fraser. She is an amazing teacher whose passion for teaching is evident in the way she makes learning a fun and positive experience. She has 25 students in her classroom all day, yet she makes each and every student feel like they are important and recognized. This is a challenging grade to teach, as kindergarten can be an exciting or difficult adjustment for many students. However, you would never know this, as she always greets students and parents with a smile every school day. Teachers like Ms. Stenger help build a foundation for lifelong learning, and I am grateful my son has the opportunity to experience that through her teaching!"

– Tina, Fraser

"She has a special way of teaching her kindergarteners. She also offers a youthful perspective that I really think helps her students. As a parent, I feel truly blessed that my daughter has her as a teacher!"

– Lori, Fraser

"Kindergarten is the most important year of a successful educational career for children. In order to get children off to the best start, a teacher must be encouraging and demanding, motivating, part-mom and part-educator, and be able to get each and every child to feel like his/her education is the most important thing in the world to the teacher. Ms. Stenger is doing a superb job with a large classroom of 5-year-olds, each with his/her own challenges. For (these kids), a full day of school is tiring and challenging, yet I see a classroom of happy, confident children exit Ms. Stenger's room each time I go there after school. She is getting each child to attain the very best possible."

– Katie, Fraser

Julie Ricci

Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary, Fraser

"Our son, Ethan, had Mrs. Ricci for developmental kindergarten – and she was amazing. Ethan has life-threatening food allergies, which made me very anxious about sending him to school without me. Mrs. Ricci did absolutely everything in her power to keep Ethan safe and ease my mind, and has continued to support us throughout our years since. Ethan is in third grade now and I have often gone to Mrs. Ricci for support or guidance regarding opinion on different situations that have occurred and she is always more than willing to help out. She is amazing with the kids and they just feel at ease with her."

– Lisa, Fraser

Robert Park

Thomas Edison Elementary, Fraser

"Mr. Park is the fifth and sixth grade band teacher at Fraser Public Schools. He is wonderful with the kids and gets them excited about band. We have a huge sixth grade band and it is mainly because all the kids love Mr. Park. He went out of his way to help my son advance in his trombone playing. My son is not into sports and has never really enjoyed school. Since he has started band he actually looks forward to school – especially band days. Mr. Park is very good with all the kids and takes the time to get to know them and help them be their best. At our house we call his touch the "magic of Mr. Park." He can get our son to do things that no one else could. He encouraged our son to do a solo at the fifth grade concert in front of hundreds and to join the sixth grade jazz band as a fifth grader, not knowing anyone. Mr. Park has changed our son's life in a fantastic way!"

– Elizabeth, Fraser

James Rodgers

Fraser High School, Fraser

"Jim Rodgers, affectionately known as 'J-Rodge' by many of his students and parents, is the band teacher at Fraser High School. He is also a Fraser graduate. I have a son and a stepdaughter who were both Mr. Rodgers' students in high school. They graduated in 2007 and 2008. Both of them would tell you that the best time they had in high school was definitely band. Fraser High School has a marching band of over 200 students! This can be directly credited to Mr. Rodgers – and the strong elementary and middle school band program in Fraser schools. But with so many students to handle in the high school band, Jim does an incredible job of keeping his cool. This band has received Division 1 ratings every year at marching band competitions. As a bus driver, I watch a ragamuffin group of students get on the buses to go to an event and then become a beautiful, uniformed, well-organized marching machine playing beautiful music. As soon as Jim speaks, they listen! The respect the students have for Jim is incredible, and this gives him amazing control over such a huge group of teenagers. The marching band students go to camp for five days in the summer, and in this five days they work out almost their entire halftime program – complicated marching patterns and music together! They perfect it in a week of daily practice at the school and one night weekly after that. But what Jim is able to pull from so many students, and so impressively, never ceases to amaze. Fraser is one of the smallest school districts in the state, but we have one of the biggest – and best – bands. And now we have one of Jim's students who has graduated, is in college and is currently working in our elementary band program. The first place he wanted to be was back with his mentor. My son went into the Air Force after graduation and has played in the band in basic training and is also in honor guard, where he plays for special occasions. Unfortunately, Fraser hasn't had the best record for our football team in recent years, but the bleachers are still packed for every home game – at least until after half-time. A lot of fans are there to see our band! And did I mention that we didn't even really have a marching band program until J-Rodge came back to Fraser? Once he took over our band began to excel, and it has gotten better with every year. Jim Rodgers has influenced so many young lives in such a positive way. He has made being a 'band geek' a good thing. He deserves the 'Top Teacher Award,' and any parent who has ever had a student in his band would say the same!"

– Roberta, Fraser

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Old to new | New to old
May 9, 2012 12:40 pm
 Posted by  Kristina

My son Jaxon is currently in Mrs. Ricci's Kindergarten classroom. She is so loving and patient. She challenges her children and keeps them moving forward. She works with each child at there level and keeps them moving forward. She inspires them to learn and to love learning. My son just loves her!

May 22, 2012 11:56 pm
 Posted by  looghe

My son had Wayne Janda for 3rd grade at Pinewood, he has got to be the best teacher he has had so far. His grades were great he excelled in math. I could not have asked for a better teacher. He is one of those
teachers who makes learning exciting and fun. If a child was having a hard time he goes the extra mile to help.

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